I don't often recommend must-read articles. Today is an exception.
Aside from global climate change, the most dangerous imminent threat to what's left of America's democracy is, without doubt, the owning of our elected government by a tiny number of very rich people.
Oligarchy: a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people.
Plutocracy: a society or a system ruled and dominated by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens.
Because of recent judicial decisions by 5 conservative, Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices, American plutocrats are now more favorably positioned than ever before to take total control of our nation's electoral process.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders explains in his must-read article here what is in store for the 99.9%.....if the likes of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, get their way.
The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion.
The Kochs make a lot of money. So what? Perspective....that's what.
In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion. For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined would be a drop in their bucket. They would hardly miss the few billion dollars.
In the 2012 election cycle alone, the Kochs were responsible for funneling over $400 million into political campaigns of conservative candidates and issues. The Kochs, themselves, only spent a little over $100 million of their own money....you know, only....but with the Roberts Court quickly shredding any limitations on political donations.....billionaires will soon be able to individually sponsor any presidential candidate's campaign....all by themselves.
Bernie Sanders describes what it is that the Kochs have in mind for a future American plutocracy......and it's ugly.
Although in 1980, when David Koch actually ran as a vice-presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Party platform was regarded as way too extreme for even Reagan conservatives.....
...the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right. Amazingly, much of what was considered "extremist" and "kooky" in 1980 has become part of today's mainstream Republican thinking.
You know all those personal stories featuring former life-long Republicans who have denounced their GOP affiliation not because they left the GOP, but because the GOP left them and they can no longer recognize their political party? That's been caused by the radicalization of the GOP while under the heavy influence of Koch money.
Why such a concentrated effort today from conservatives and Republicans in opposition to increasing the paltry minimum wage? Koch influence....
In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage. Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.
Block granting (reducing) Medicaid to the states, privatizing (cutting) Medicare for seniors? Koch influence....
In 1980, the platform of David Koch's Libertarian Party favored "the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Eliminating all taxation on the wealthiest .1%? Koch influence....
In 1980, David Koch's Libertarian Party platform stated "We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes ... We support the eventual repeal of all taxation ... As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said "would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax."
If you are like me and have been a bit shocked these last few years over the apparent shamelessness by Republican elected officials, especially in the Tea-House, to repeatedly vote for budgets and laws favoring plutocratic profits over the lives of American citizens.....then look no further for answers than to the influence of the Koch Brothers.
Yes, there are more billionaires than just the Koch Brothers who influence our nation's politics......but there are none that come close to the political activism, zeal and radicalized ideology of the Koch Brothers.
Much has been said recently against Harry Reid's negative spotlighting of the Kochs. For my money, Reid critics can go pound salt. With a huge assist from the Roberts Court, the Kochs have been handed an invitation to take over America's political process, remaking America in their own greed-filled and extremist image. Today's disturbing Republican & Tea Party extremism, all mirroring the Koch extremism from 1980, is all one needs to review to understand how close our nation is to becoming a full-fledged plutocracy.
It's high time voters responded by removing all GOP & Tea representatives from office. Before our vote no longer counts at all.
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